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When you’re on vacation, you don’t just want to stay in a hotel room with no space to stretch out and nothing to do. You want to stay somewhere with lots of space, some great amenities, and something to do while you’re there. And that’s why I’m posting today about one of the most beautiful homes for rent on Kauai: Taro Plantation.
This 4 bedroom, 3 bath house is massive. Each room has comfortable furniture that perfectly fits the space, owing to an excellent interior decorator. And each space in the house continues the elegant theme of natural woods, soft tones, and upscale grandeur that are so apparent when you first walk in.
Included in that grandeur are antiques from China and Indonesia, moving pieces that provide a sense of awe and cultural depth to the house. Plus, there are stained glass windows that diffuse the light and inspire with shades of joy.
The bedrooms are suites really. The master suite has a king-sized poster bed, beautiful furniture, and the most impressive bathroom I’ve ever seen, with large tiles leading into a walk-in bathing area. The other bedrooms have queen-sized beds, so no one will have to sleep in a tiny space. Owing to this, the house itself can sleep 8 adults comfortably, and one more if your guest doesn’t mind sleeping on the couch.
But the rooms aren’t the best part. The living space is substantial and comfortable. The living room has cable tv and a DVD player for quiet nights at home. Plus, the house is equipped with high speed internet, so you can bring your laptops and read my blog as you sit in your beautiful vacation home in comfort. And, best of all, there is a large gourmet kitchen that includes all of the best appliances, cookware, dishes, and utensils you will need to feed everyone you bring with you. Off the kitchen is a large dining room that seats 8 and you will find everything you need to lay out a beautiful dinner in the kitchen shelves.
And that doesn’t even begin to take the outside into account. This house is built in a secluded spot in Hanalei Valley, right past Swan Lake. To get there, you will drive through beautiful taro fields and waterways, leading to a house right in the midst of nature. Each morning, you can step out onto the spacious lanai (patio) and enjoy a cup of Kauai Coffee while you watch the waterfowl play in the water. And, if you’d like to take a dip in a refreshing pool, there is a large pool on the property where you can swim contentedly. There is even a poolside dining area, a beautifully laid out section of tile where you can BBQ (it’s a gas grill) and eat while having a pool party.
Now, this all sounds very secluded and far away from civilization, right? But fortunately, while it’s tucked away far enough to be private, this home is only a short walk away from town. Hanalei Town has just about everything you’ll need while you stay with us, from restaurants to grocery stores, from gift shops to equipment rentals. So no matter what you’d like to do while here, you’ll be close to the action. Plus, if you walk (or drive) just a bit further, you will reach Hanalei Bay, the most beautiful beach on earth.
Honestly, this house is the best of the best. However, the price is much lower than one would expect to pay for an elegant mansion home in the heart of Kauai. For only $4000 a week, you can stay in this amazing home. And sometimes they run specials, meaning you can get an even better deal on the house! It’s worth a look, right?
So if you want to come to Kauai and stay in style, please consider Taro Plantation. You will be so pampered here, you won’t want to leave!
Get it? Like “well that’s interesting” only I said whale. Because… it’s WHALE SEASON! ☺
(Yes, I realize that I can be a bit nerdy every once in a while, but I’m seriously excited that it’s whale season once again. So bare with me.)
Every November, we see more and more whales migrating around the island. And it brings some excitement and a sense of wonder to my world. I love witnessing the enormity of the journey, the pristine beauty of the world’s largest creatures cutting through the water, and the glistening sun bouncing off of their features as they pursue the path of their natural instincts, swimming toward the open water.
The beauty of whale season is a perfect time for island tourists as well. After all, who wouldn’t want to wake up in their home rental and look out the window to see these mammoth sea beasts bursting through the waves? They make life more splendid, especially if you have never seen a whale up close before. And, if you didn’t know, it’s good luck to have a whale surface for you. It means prosperity and happiness all year long.
So if you have been wanting to visit Kauai, now is a great time to come. There will be luaus, town events, concerts, festivals, parties, holiday cheer, and hundreds of large mammals floating through the water, waiting for a kindly tourist on a whale watching tour to meet them. It’s truly a wonderful time, this November-January season. And I hope you will all join me in celebrating right here on the North Shore, my home.
And, if you are on Kauai tonight and feel like celebrating with us, come to the Whales Homecoming Slack Key Concert at the Hanalei Community Center. The concert starts at 4pm and has a fee of $20. The music, however, is priceless and will be a gift offered to the audience by the McMasters, artists who have given their lives to the pursuit of traditional slack key and the knowledge of customs past down from generations past. They are truly dedicated musicians, histories, story tellers, and friends. I hope you’ll be able to come and witness this event in person.
Today I want to talk about surfing. For tourists and visitors (and for residents too) surfing is a way of life. Surfing is a part of Kauai that many people come and seek out. After you have booked your flight and made reservations to stay on Kauai, you will probably tell people about your upcoming trip. When you tell them you will be going to Kauai, they may ask what you plan on doing there. Some of the classics would be going to a traditional luau or taking surfing lessons. Surfing lessons?! Why not! Live a little and try it out. Who knows, you might like it or fall head over heels in love with it. (Pun not intended there.)
There are quite a few surf schools you can attend if you want to learn to surf here on Kauai. One in particular that I like is Titus Kinimaka’s Hawaiian School of Surfing, Hanalei. It is a surf school owned by a family, so you and your family are sure to feel welcome. And if there are those in your family who have already learned to surf, no worries. This surf school has lessons for beginners and experts. After all, it’s never too late to learn something new, right? So while the beginners in your group are having their lesson, the experts can get a few pointers themselves and be out in the water in no time.
If you think you will not have fun doing this-think again! I had a blast doing it. Then again, I know how to laugh at myself… if you can do that then you should be golden no matter what. (If you have read my blog before, you know that I am not a good surfer. My family lovely calls me a disgrace to the Hawaiian people. And they are probably right… unless falling off a surf board is a tradition I was unaware of.
The most important thing about this surf school is that the surf instructors are all lifeguards. So you will be perfectly safe as you attempt to surf the waves. (This might help to ease the minds of you parents out there.) Plus, the instructors like taking small groups, so everyone gets one-on-one attention and a good lesson overall. The ratio was one instructor per three students.
When I went out for my beginner lesson, we were at sandbars–no coral reef or anything like that–so I did not come back with bumps and bruises after my lesson. They guaranteed that I would surf the first day. Well, I did! Can you believe it? I can only believe it cause my friend on land caught a picture of me up in the water… right before I fell into the waves. So much fun! I highly suggest you take a surfing lesson while on Hawaii. When in Rome, do as the Romans do… and when on Kauai, do as the natives do. That is something I have always tried to implement in my own life, and I hope you do the same.
Do you need a place to stay while you are on Kauai? How about a place that’s close to the sand castle building competition? How about a house that’s walking distance from the beach so you don’t have far to go? How about Nani Kai in Hanalei, one of the cutest vacation rental homes in Kauai?
Now, if you don’t have kids, you will still love this vacation home for the space it affords and the bright and cheery atmosphere of the interior. However, if you DO have children, you will love this place for many, many reasons, some of which I will list now.
This property has 4 bedrooms. The largest (the master bedroom) has an attached bathroom and a door to the lanai outside. The other bedrooms have queen-sized and full-sized beds and they share a bathroom. So your children will be sleeping well in their own rooms and you will be enjoying the master suit with your sweetheart.
The living room has enough comfortable furniture to allow a whole household of children to lounge comfortably. It’s also a short walk to a beach. So if you’re sick of having a bunch of kids who only want to hang out at the house and lounge all day, this is the place for you. Lounging for them; nature walk and beach time for the whole family.
Another plus is the fact that this house has… wait for it… AIR CONDITIONING! Now, most places on Kauai have ceiling fans and such, to combat the days when it’s humid outside. But even then, sometimes it’s hard for small children to be in a tropical climate, if they aren’t used to it. After a long day of playing in the sun and getting sweaty, wouldn’t it be nice to come home to a cool, air conditioned house? I think so. And your children will appreciate it.
There is also a washer and dryer in this house. Now, this isn’t exactly for the kids, but let’s face it: kids are messy. Everyday of your vacation, they will get dirty, wet, sandy, and covered in grime. So to keep you from having to pack every child 3 outfits for every day of your vacation, you can just use the washer and dryer. You’re welcome.
And then there’s the best part (apart from the beach): the backyard. The backyard is wonderful. It has a ton of space to run around, a gazebo for hanging out in the warm tropical weather, and beautiful mountain views surrounding it all. (That last part is for you, parents. Kids don’t always appreciate mountain views.) There is also a BBQ so you can cook delicious meals out on the BBQ while the kids run around and play. In essence, it’s a great place to spend your Kauai vacation. Don’t you think?
So come and check it out. You’re going to love this house.
This will be the first year in a LONG time that I have missed the Hawaii Sand Castle Contest in Hanalei. And typically, there is no where else I’d rather be than on the beach in Hanalei, working with my friends on an epic sand castle. However, this year I have already decided to go to the Music and Mango festival. So my sand castling days are over… for this year.
However, if you don’t like mango (*gasp*) or you simply want to do something with your family that’s free (the Mango festival costs $10/person), then you might want to hang out at the beach and build your own sand castle!
Just like every year, this event will challenge you to build your best sand castle. You can build as an individual or as a group, and groups can have as many people as you want. So bring your family, your friends, your church group, your co-workers, or anyone else you can think of!
Registration for the sand castle competition begins at 11am, so make sure you are at the beach by then. Once you are registered, you can start building. You will be given a few hours, which will include sculpting and judging. The final judging will take place at 3:30pm and awards will be handed out by 4pm.
Not sure how to build a sand castle? Well, that’s not a big problem. You can still join in the free fun by taking the class. At 11:30am, there will be a sand sculpture class taught by Jeff Peterson. He is a world renowned san sculpture artist and teacher, so the lesson is sure to be interesting and educational. Plus, it’s playing in sand! So it’s sure to be a lot of fun too.
Again, I won’t be there this year. But if you can, you should go! It’s sure to be a lot of fun, and you never know what awesome things people will build. ☺
When I was in college, I visited California for spring break. It was a fun trip with my friends, although it was a bit different from your normal Spring Break activities. You see, we wanted to go somewhere that no one else was going, to avoid the big crowds and see things no one else was going to see. In other words, we couldn’t afford the hotels in San Diego and L.A. where everyone else was staying. ☺
We ended up touring a bit of Northern California, stopping at a few “must see” spots that we heard about from residents. And it just so happened that we stumbled across the Asparagus Festival. Yep, that’s right. It was an entire festival for asparagus. It was amazing.
Now, I hadn’t really been a fan of asparagus since I was forced to eat it as a child. Something about those green sprouts just seemed strange to eat, and my parents insisted on boiling them into mush before serving them. So, between their looks and their mushy texture, I just never grew to like them. Until this festival.
At the asparagus festival, everything asparagus was good. Sometimes it was a bit weird (asparagus ice-cream… I’m just saying), but everything was actually good. So we stayed at the festival for most of the day, enjoying the live entertainment and snacking along the way at all of the food stands. It was a highlight of our Spring Break, one that still gets me funny looks from our friends who made it to San Diego.
Well, on Kauai this month, there will be a MUSIC AND MANGO FESTIVAL!!!!
In case you don’t understand the sheer awesomeness of this event, let me explain. On the shores of Halulu Fishpond in Hanalei, there will be a Saturday festival to celebrate the joys of mango. There will be mango foods made by some of the best chefs and food vendors on Kauai. All food items will be inspired by the summer mango harvest and will include this delicious fruit! Great right? So don’t you want to try mango cheesecake, mango chicken, mango slices, and dried mango with sugar? I know I do!
Also, there will be many activities to enjoy. Live musicians will play throughout the event, and there will be crafts, auctions, classes, cultural displays, workshops, and other entertainment. Local artists will be out in droves, showing their work and selling beautiful pieces. Recipe contest will be taking place, as well as a “largest mango” contest! And everyone is welcome.
So if trying out some delicious mango treats and enjoying activities, crafts, and entertainment sounds like fun, come to Waipa’s Halulu Fishpond on Saturday (the 10th)! The festival will run from 10am to 6pm and the cost is only $10 for adults and $1 per child. (Children 2 and under are free. This event benefits the Waipa Foundation.) Oh and remember to bring a beach blanket for lounging during the festival concerts.
If you are a visitor to Kauai, this blog is for you. Why? Well, most resident Hawaiians have heard the amazing sounds of traditional slack key guitar. It’s a Hawaiian highlight, a sound rich in our culture that expresses the histories of the ages. It is also one of the most Hawaiian experiences you can have on our island.
However, I have discovered that most visitors have never heard slack key guitar. After chatting with one young couple, their response was almost funny to me: “It’s just a guy playing a guitar, right? I mean, I’ve heard that.” So for all of you who might have similar ideas about slack key, I encourage you to come to a concert sometime and get your minds blown!
Every Sunday in Hanalei, there is a slack key guitar concert performed by the best guitar and ukulele players in Kauai: Doug and Sandy McMasters. Doug and Sandy have spent their lives learning the culture, traditions, histories, and stories behind slack key guitar. And they are some of the few people left in the world who truly understand the histories and the music. This is real music, old style, and it is a joy to hear. It’s like they bottle Aloha and pass it out to listeners in cool bursts.
People who have gone to their concerts in the past have said it was the very best part of their vacations, and I believe them. After all, I’ve heard them play and sing a handful of times, and each time they bring the music alive with stories and histories of old Kauai.
The concerts start at 3pm each Sunday, and tickets are only $20 ($15 for kids and seniors). So if this sounds like something you would like to do, please come to Hanalei Community Center some Sunday. If you can only attend one concert while you’re here, this would be the one to see.
If you plan to visit Kauai, you’ll want to stay on the North Side of the island. Why? Well, there is a TON to do here on the North Shore. Plus, I live here! So I can personally attest to the fact that all of the cool kids live on this side. (Okay, forgive the mention of “cool kids.” We’re really more like adults.) Anyway, my point is that you’ll want an amazing rental home here in the North, as you’ll be spending most of your time here. And that amazing home is called Hoku Hale.
Hoku Hale is a great property for multiple reasons… and I’m going to start with the kitchen.
Now, I realize that most of you wouldn’t choose the kitchen, but that’s just because you haven’t seen the place yet. Believe me – I’ve visited quite a few vacation rental homes. And this is the first home where I literally drooled over the kitchen. It’s big. It has a huge island. It has enough counter space to cook a feast and feed an army. It’s fully stocked with kitchen items from utensils to appliances. The lighting is perfect. It has a ceiling fan for humid days, so you don’t feel like you’re going to melt into the floor while you cook. And it’s just plain beautiful. I’m in love. I would like to live in this house always, just so I can use the kitchen.
Okay, that said, let me tell you about the rest of the house.
This is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Hanalei, off Weke Road. The bedrooms all have king-sized beds and space enough to stretch out and enjoy yourself. The bathrooms are full bathrooms, so there is no fighting over the shower with friends or family members. And three bedrooms means it can sleep 6 comfortably with room for up to 8, if your guests don’t mind couches.
Amenities include things like wireless internet, beautifully remodeled bathrooms, granite countertops, ceiling fans, and two lanais for your relaxation. There is also a washer-dryer unit in the house, so you can pack light and wash what you wear before you go home. And there is a BBQ for grilling up any fish you catch or local food you bring home.
The exterior of the house is well-kept and nice. There is a large lawn where you can run around and play with your kids, and quite a few fruit trees where you can pick some excellent Kauai-grown produce. The house itself is raised up on stilts, so you get the best views around. (Plus, there is a wrap-around deck with outdoor tables and chairs, so you can sit out on the deck each morning with a cup of Kauai Coffee and enjoy the beautiful mountain air.)
But it gets better.
The world-famous Hanalei Bay is right across the street. Literally. So the best beach on Kauai is only a short walk away. And each night you can fall asleep listening to the sound of the surf.
This is seriously one of the best vacation rentals on Kauai, and it can be your home-away-from-home when you visit. So please feel free to call and check the availability on this property. You are going to LOVE it!
From time to time, I talk about book signings here on Kauai. After all, we have a few talented authors here, and they occasionally allow us to celebrate with them at book signings. I LOVE book signings. ☺
Coming up here on Kauai, we have two different book signings you can attend. At these signings, you can purchase some good books, meet the authors, and ask the authors to sign your books! It’s wonderful, right? I think so. So let’s discuss the upcoming events.
Adults: This first book signing is just for adults. It will take place right here in Hanalei at the Tahiti Nui Restaurant and Lounge Luau Room. During this event, you can buy books, meet the author, enjoy live music, eat great food, hula your afternoon away, and have lots of fun. The author’s name is Jill Marie Landis and she is celebrating the publication of the third book in her Tiki Goddess Mysteries series: Three to Get Lei’d. It should be a fun afternoon, and it’s free! So come and enjoy yourself on Sunday, July 28, from 2-4pm at the Tahiti Nui Restaurant and Lounge Luau Room.
Kids and Adults: Kauai Museum in Lihue will also be having a book signing, coming up on August 2nd at 11:30am. The author, Jacqueline Skylark Rossetti (aka Honolulu Skylark), will be there, discussing the Merrie Monarch Commemorative book and telling stories about the years she hosted the Merrie Monarch Competition. This will be a fascinating book signing, but it will also cost $10/person to get into the museum. (Kids ages 6-17 will cost $2-$6, depending on age. Children under 5 are free.)
Now, if you want to go to the book signing at the museum but you don’t think the cost is worth it, keep in mind that there will be other things happening at the museum that day. For instance, you can visit the museum exhibits, marveling at the fascinating history of Kauai. Also, there will be a Friday Paina in the museum courtyard from 11:30am-1pm. In other words, there will be food! So after you check out the beauty of the museum and attend the book signing, you can visit the courtyard for some local cuisine and good company.
If you are staying on the North Side of the island, then you already know that there is a ton of stuff to do. From snorkeling and surfing to hiking and horseback riding, there is a plethora of things to do here at all times. And that’s not to mention the festivals, celebrations, historical sites, and fun events that happen here all year round.
However, that’s not to say that we don’t still want extra things to do, right?!? So please join us this Saturday (July 27) for the 7th Annual Open Water Swim Race!
Swimmers will meet together at 7am at the Hanalei Bay pier to swim in one of four races. Each race has a price for entry (somewhere between $10 and $30), which includes the racing fee, a t-shirt commemorating the event, and a colorful swim cap. Plus, everyone will get the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful waters of Hanalei Bay.
If you’ll remember, Hanalei Bay is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is a lovely half-crescent bay over 3000 meters across, and the waters are blue, clear, and warm. (In fact, the water here on Kauai typically stays warm, due to our tropical climate.) And when you race, you will have the opportunity to truly experience the luxury of swimming in our beautiful bay.
Now, there will be two races for children and two for adults. The adults will race either 1000 meters or 3000 meters. And the top three swimmers in each event will be awarded a medal!
And for those of you who have children that love the water and want to enter, don’t worry. Safety is always a priority, especially when there are kids in the water. So the race course will be closely watched by lifeguards and safety monitors, both along the shore and in the water. The lifeguards on land will watch for swimmers in trouble, and the safety monitors will be in boats and on paddleboards. (And you will be watching too, of course.) ☺
So, if you or someone in your family wants to swim, be at the pier no later than 7am to sign up!
But what if you don’t want to swim? What if you just want to watch? Well, that’s okay too! In fact, the course is designed to parallel the shore, so you will be able to watch all of the excitement right from the beach. There will be vendors around to sell you snacks, and you can always walk along the beach and enjoy the white sandy awesomeness while you watch.
The event should end right around noon, so it won’t be all day. And then you can enjoy some of the wonderful North Shore restaurants! It’s a win-win! See you there. ☺
When I was growing up, there were few things that I could find to discuss with my grandmother. She was a stubborn woman who was a little gruff around the edges, but in an almost endearing way, you know? It’s odd to describe her now. Even with all of my words, there is little I can truly say to capture the woman. She was like a jagged cliff holding up the Kilauea Lighthouse. Sure, she was tough and stormbattered, but she had weathered much, seen much, and lived much. And that is eventually what made me like her.
You see, she lived with us when I was very small. My grandfather had passed away some years before and my parents decided she shouldn’t live by herself. She threw a fit. I never thought they’d get her to stay, especially since she was so capable in her own right and thrived on independence. Mom used to say that she wasn’t sure how grandpa tamed her, but somehow he captured her heart like a tropical storm in a bottle. And after he died, that storm was released… on my house.
Sure, my parent did the right thing. But I’m pretty sure she drove them nuts. And I might have been driven nuts too had it not been for one place: the Napali Coast.
The Napali Coast is a place on Kauai’s North Shore that has captured the hearts and minds of visitors and residents alike for generations. It is a breathtaking area, 17 miles of coastline encompassing everything from the lush landscapes and the ragged cliff sides to the cascading waterfalls and wild ocean waves. Directors have made movies on it, poets have written sonnets about it, and couples have gotten married for centuries in its presence. It’s timeless. And my grandmother loved it.
When I was small, she used to take me by the hand and we would walk along the shore for hours. And there she would tell me stories of the old day, in the times before written records were kept. She would tell me stories of island villagers, kings and queens of the nation, folk tales, and stories of fairies. And we would watch the ocean, glory in the nature around us, and be free of everything unpleasant in this world. The coast was ours. The sea was ours. And it called to us.
While my grandmother might have been a crotchety old woman with a sly streak, she was my world on those days. She made history come alive and is the reason why I love island history and cultural tradition to this day. She made them real, and she used this, the most beautiful place on earth, to do it.
Today, I take my husband to the Napali coast and we play in the sand, explore the sea caves, stare up at the jagged cliffs, and enjoy the ocean waves. And someday we will bring our children here to do the same, and I will walk with them and tell them the stories of our ancestors. How lucky are we to live here and have this natural wonderful for a backyard? And how lucky are the visitors to our island who get the chance to walk along these same paths and experience the amazing scenes around them. What better place in the world than here?
So, have you ever seen the Napali Coast? If not, it is a necessity in life. Trust me – place it on your bucket list. Because once you’ve seen it for yourself, you will never forget it.
Hi all! So… ummm… I’m married!
Yea! I’m sorry that I’ve been absent for this past week. For those who actually follow this blog, that’s a long time for me. Usually I write a couple times a week, telling you about the fun things to do, restaurants to try, and places to see on Kauai. But this last week, I promised my fiancée (now husband!) that I would avoid writing about our wedding. Why? Well, he didn’t want to advertise our special day. And I can respect that.
So, as much as it kills me to say this, I will not be giving details… at least not for a while. Maybe he’ll lighten up after a few weeks or months and I can share all of the wonderful things we did right here on Kauai to make our wedding beautiful, wonderful, special, and amazing.
Until then, let me tell you about some vague details of our big day. This way, if you have read this blog before, you might be able to guess all of the important parts. We got married near where we got engaged. It was a small, private ceremony with just our families and a few close friends. And it was, as you probably guessed, outdoors. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and everything seemed to go right, which I did not expect considering how many wedding horror stories my friends told me after I got engaged. ☺
Our rehearsal dinner was two nights before the wedding, as we planned the bachelor party and the bachelorette party for the night before. And it took place at a restaurant I’ve mentioned a couple times before, one of my favorites on the North Side of the island where I live. Everyone loved it and we were all able to take a long walk on the beach afterward.
My bachelorette party was on the ocean! My girlfriends rented a boat and we danced and drank the night away. It was SO much fun. We told stories, ate junk food, drank as much as we dared the night before my wedding, and laughed harder than I’ve ever laughed before. It will be one of my favorite memories until the day I die… what I could remember of it. ☺
My wedding took place in the morning, at the time of the sunrise. It was EARLY, especially considering how late we were out partying. But it was well worth it. Watching the sun rise to signify a new beginning was the highlight of the ceremony. And it made our wedding far more special than any other I’ve been to in a while. (Of course, I could be a bit biased.)
All in all, we had a wedding beyond our expectations, which is exactly how it should be. And then my husband whisked me off the island for a surprise honeymoon, which I’m also not allowed to talk about. Grrrrr… I can tell you that it wasn’t on Kauai, mostly because he wanted to surprise me with something I hadn’t seen before. And this place was DEFINITELY unexpected! ☺
So I’m sorry for not writing for a while, but I’m SO thankful that I can come back as a married woman to tell you all about the unique features and festivals of Kauai. Well, let’s stop procrastinating! It’s time to write about Kauai!
Okay, the full title of this post should be “Fully Equipped Kitchen on the Beach,” because that is far more accurate when talking about the Hale Ola Guest House. But I went with the shorter title, since that’s the main point of this blog. ☺
As you know, it’s May Munchie Madness this month. So what better way to talk about the munchies than to mention that you don’t have to stay in a hotel! After all, hotels offer you a bedroom with a bathroom. Not much space at all really. But if you want to be able to make your own food whenever you want in the privacy of your own home-away-from-home, then this is the house for you. Hale Ole’s Guest House has a fully equipped kitchen that is just perfect for the foodie on the go.
The cabinets are a beautiful white that offsets the countertops perfectly. And, not only is the ambiance nice, but the kitchen is set up with a coffee maker, tea pot, blender, microwave, oven, dishes, utensils, pots, pans, serving trays, and everything else you’ll need to cook whatever you want. That is what I mean by “fully equipped kitchen.” We’re talking about all of the comforts of cooking at home, along with a beautiful window that features the one thing you can’t see from your kitchen at home: the beach!
Yeah, I suppose I should tell you about the rest of the house, right? That’s only fair. Well, this guest house is on the property of another house, which must be rented separately. But the property more than makes up for the shared space. This house is right on the water! Seriously, you can open your door and walk across the lawn to the beach. It’s that easy. Just wait until you see it. While this might not be a largest house in the world, it’s location makes it worth its weight in gold.
In addition to a great kitchen and beachfront placement, this home sleeps 4 comfortably, with two bedrooms equipped with king-sized beds. Plus, it comes with some great amenities like cable TV, DVD player, stereo with CD player, high quality furnishings, hardwood floors, and more. And while you can probably find a nice hotel on the beach, let’s face it – it will cost you a fortune. You might be spending close to $1,000 a night just on a room with a bathroom! But with this rental home, you get the comforts of home located right on the beach for only $2,400 a WEEK! (Not a night, folks. A week! That’s 7 days of staying in the best place on earth for only $2,400!)
Okay, back to the kitchen. ☺ Because this house is located in Hanalei, you will also be very close to a shopping center, several smaller shops, a farmer’s market, and more. So you will be able to go out daily and pick up fresh fruits and vegetables (grown right here on the island), fresh fish (caught right here on the island), and anything else you desire. And then you can come back to the house and cook!
OR, if you don’t really feel like cooking for the evening, you can always stay in town and enjoy one of the great restaurants, frequented by locals and visitors alike. Don’t you want to give this place a chance? With your family, or together with another couple, you could make this place into a dream vacation get-away.
Today, I’m craving tacos. Seriously. It’s bad. It’s a big craving. Tacos. Mmmmmmm.
The problem, as some of you may know, is that I’m dieting. I’m supposed to eat only healthy, organic, locally grown vegetables and a bit of lean meat. And so I’m sitting here, at my computer, longing for tacos while eating carrots and pouting.
My solution? Tell you all about my favorite place in Hanalei to get tacos! Then, you all can go out and eat tacos for me and I can live vicariously through you. Okay? Good. It’s settled then. Let me introduce you to Pat’s Taqueria.
Okay, first off, I know that Taquerias typically sound much more authentic without the name Pat attached. I get that. But if you think that detracts from the amazing flavors of a Pat’s taco, then you are gravely mistaken. The tacos here are a local craving, and just about all tourists who try them end up falling in love. They are that good.
Now, this place is a lunch truck located near Black Pot Beach Park. (Yes, I’m sending you to a food truck. But it’s cool. Trust me.) Ask any resident of Kauai and they will tell you exactly where to go. Because they all know what I know – these tacos are good. But here are some things you might need to know to eat here:
1. Because this is a big favorite, get here early for lunch. They serve one meal a day (except Sundays) and they start at noon. The line forms before then. So if you want to eat sometime around noon, get there about 15 minutes early or so.
2. You will probably meet more people here than anywhere else you go. Seriously, a lot of residents eat here on their lunch breaks, and tourists learn that this place is fabulous pretty quickly. So if you want to make some new friends, this is the place to go.
3. Tacos will cost you $4-$5 apiece. This will seem a bit pricey… until you see them. The portions are good. The first tacos, for instance, have big pieces of fresh ono, grilled to perfection and served in a warm tortilla. You won’t be hungry later. You will be happy. These are good tacos.
Pat’s Taqueria is definitely one of my favorite places to grab lunch. And my favorite things to order are the pork tacos. Seriously, Kalua Pig in a heaven-sent tortilla is a wonderful treat. I could eat 10 of them, which is why I’m staying safely in my house and talking about them instead of driving over to eat there. (Carrots are good too. Keep eating carrots, self.)
So if you are on Kauai and want tacos, please don’t go to some expensive restaurant or try to find a Taco Bell. Come to Hanalei and eat real food. And when you leave our shores, you will leave happy.
So, every few posts or so on this blog, I throw in some information about local vacation homes for rent. This way, if you are reading along and my words are convincing you to come visit, you will know about all of the good places to stay! It’s my service to you. ☺ And that’s why I’m going to tell you about Hale Ylang Ylang in Hanalei.
Now, this month is all about food for me. (Yes, mostly food I can’t have now that I’m on a diet, but still…) And so I wanted to showcase a gorgeous house that also had a fully set-up kitchen and was a short walk away from some nice restaurants. Hale Ylang Ylang is that vacation home.
Actually, it’s a town house, located right near Hanalei Bay. The view is beautiful, which is probably why the house has so many large windows. In fact, the dining room has a long table situated between two extremely large, wide windows. The result is the feeling that you are eating outside in a tropical garden.
And the house itself is exquisite. I know that’s an odd word to use for a house, but this house has such appeal for me. It has hardwood floors, wood paneling that offsets the lighter shades of furniture, a quaint little stairway, a cozy window seat (really more of a window bed) with a bookshelf, and intricate little details that make it all at once cute, spacious, light, respectable, and perfect for any family.
There are two master bedrooms downstairs with King-sized beds, private bathrooms, and all of the privacy you could want. So you could bring your best friends and easily have enough space. Plus, there is an outdoor shower for after swimming in the ocean, cable tv, a DVD player, high speed internet, a washer/dryer unit, and, most importantly, a kitchen to drool over.
The kitchen has granite counter-tops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, a small island for prepping dinner, and all of the equipment you’ll need to make a great meal. All it’s missing is some food, which local markets can easily provide. And speaking of local markets, now we’re getting into the heart of this post: walking distance.
This town house is walking distance from town. That means you’ll be walking distance from a great beach, yes. But it also means that you will be walking distance from several stores, a farmer’s market, and a bunch of wonderful restaurants that serve great food all year round! In other words, you will not only have a great kitchen for cooking your own gourmet meals, but you can also go out to eat at a number of gourmet restaurants without having to rent a car!
So, if you like food the way that I do (or if you just like being incredibly close to a beach and a great shopping center), then choose Hale Ylang Ylang for your next vacation rental here on Kauai. You will absolutely love it!
Yes, I’m still on my diet. But tonight my fiancée took me to an amazing restaurant and I couldn’t help but eat a full plate of food. Now, I know what you’re thinking. No restaurant is worth breaking your diet and getting fat, right? Well, I’m not so sure about that. This place was really good.
Now, I might have written about this place before. I can’t remember at the moment. (It’s almost 2:30am.) But even if I have, I’m going to write about it again. It’s worth it.
We went to Mediterranean Gourmet, one of the nicest restaurants on the island, especially if you enjoy gourmet cooking. And considering they have won a Hale Aina Award every year since they opened, I have no doubt that a lot of people like to eat gourmet food. ☺ Now, if it helps, they have some wonderfully healthy choices on their menu. Not everything is smothered in cream sauce and butter. In fact, many menu items are just the right ingredients, placed together to create new flavors that will surprise your palette.
My finance had reservations for 7:30, but we missed them. (Reservations are pretty important at this place, as they have a large following of food lovers.) But when we got there at 9pm, there were openings, so we got right in.
And then I saw the menu.
You know, this menu is a delight even on a day I’m not dieting. But when you walk into a restaurant after eating only a morning smoothie, a handful of nuts, a salad, and a few carrots, this place is like dining in heaven. I mean, right off the bat, you see the appetizers menu with their hand rolled Spinach Fatayers and Spanikopita. Oh and their Babaganush is SO good, and I say this after hating eggplant as a child. But then you see the rest of the menu and you fall into a happy state of food envy.
Don’t worry everyone – I was pretty good. I stuck with half a salad and some fish. Of course, it was a Fattoush Salad with little pita bread bits crumbled on top. (Amazing!) And I guess the fish was pan in sesame oil and tasted even better with the goat cheese, grape tomatoes, and dates it came with. So I technically *could* have eaten better if I’d wanted to. But I think I should get some credit. After all, I could have eaten at a fast food place, right? At least this way, I ate extremely well and filled myself with real food.
My fiancée didn’t help. He got the rack of lamb with garlic mashed potatoes and ate it right in front of me. It was like torture… or it would have been if my food hadn’t been so very good.
So, as you can see, there are some wonderful places to eat here on our island, especially if you aren’t on a diet. This Mediterranean gourmet fare is a real treat, a perfect place to take the one you love while on Kauai. And it’s right here in Hanalei! So eat the food, enjoy the ambiance, and savor ever bite. It’s worth it.
We live on an island, so there are MANY beaches to choose from when you visit. Some have great reputations, some are exclusive, some are remote, some are well-populated, and some are just plain awesome.
So when you are choosing a beach to visit, it’s important to keep a few basic questions in mind.
1. Does it have a lifeguard? As I’ve mentioned before, lifeguards can help keep you and your family safe. So if you have the choice, always choose a lifeguarded beach.
2. Do you have children? There are some beaches with lots of activity and big waves and then there are beaches that have calmer waters and fewer people. The beaches in that second category are typically better for families with small children.
3. How well can you swim? Again, beaches with large waves and no lifeguards should be avoided, especially by those of you who do not swim exceedingly well. Each beach is different, and conditions change quickly. So if you are a bad swimmer, avoid the ocean.
4. What does the weather report say today? Each day you plan to go out into the water, check the Kauai Explorer website. Why? Well, conditions change often. Beaches that were perfectly safe yesterday might have large waves and choppy waters today. And knowledge is power.
Okay, so you know what questions to ask, but you might not know anything about the beaches! I can help with that. After all, I live here. ☺
Hanalei Bay Beach Park – Hanalei Bay is one of the most beautiful spots on Hawaii. Typically, when tourists visit our island, it’s to see this beautiful bay. And that is why lifeguards are on duty in this area. The beach is large and stretches all the way around the half-moon bay. For this reason, there is a lot of ground to cover for the lifeguards, which is why I recommend that you and your family set up your towels near the guard towers. And keep in mind that the ocean is not tame in this area, which makes it great for some water sports like surfing but also means you must use caution.
Kee Beach – This is also a lifeguard protected beach and is very near Hanalei Bay. But because of the natural arrangement of water obstructions, it’s much safer than the Bay. This beach is considered a great beach for swimming and snorkeling, so enjoy. But it also has strong currents, sharp coral, slippery rocks, and breaking waves. So please use caution.
Haena Beach Park – Like Kee Beach, this beach is good for snorkeling and swimming, due to the natural arrangement of water obstructions. And this beach has a lifeguard station, so if something goes wrong, a rescue will be forthcoming. It’s also very close to Hanalei Bay.
Anini Beach – Anini beach is considered a good swimming and snorkeling beach because of the natural obstructions in the water. However, there are NO lifeguards on duty here, so I do not recommend visiting this spot. There is, however, a protected swimming area and facilities nearby. So if you watch your family like a hawk, it’s a good place to let your small children put their feet in the water.
Kauapea Beach – Just like Anini beach, there are NO lifeguards on duty. There are also no obstructions, so the water tends to come fast and large. Honestly, I would completely avoid this beach with my family.
Lumahai Beach – There are no lifeguards on duty at this beach and the currents are really really strong. So, if you want to get in the water, avoid this beach. However, if you want to see the pretty spot where they filmed the “wash that man right out of my hair” song from South Pacific, enjoy but stay on the sand.
Also, keep in mind that the North Shore gets large swells during the months of September through May. So if you are visiting within the next month or two, check often on the Kauai Explorer website and check the wave heights before visiting any beach. Also, keep your eyes out for lifeguard warning signs as you swim. Enjoy!
Family vacations should be relaxing, right? When I was a child, we would fly to the mainland and drive around, seeing the sights. The problem was that my brother and I fought all the time and we drove our parents crazy. After several days cooped up together in the car, everyone was ready to go home. It wasn’t relaxing. In fact, to this day I have no idea why my parents always decided to take road trips.
Maybe that’s why I love the Hale Ylang Ylang vacation rental home so much. I remember those family road trips and think of this rental as a little piece of heaven in a tropical paradise. Let me explain.
This vacation rental sleeps four, so a typical American family can stay here easily. However, unlike traveling together in a car or staying in a small hotel room, this vacation rental home has plenty of space. The two bedroom suites both have King sized beds and their own bathrooms, so there won’t be problems sharing. The living room has plenty of seating, lots of room, and several high-end electronics to play with, including high speed wireless internet for laptop users. And the fully equipped gourmet kitchen has tons of counter space, including an island counter and bar stools for socializing with the cook.
For meal times, you can cook at home and eat in the dining room. You can also eat in the living room while watching a fun movie or have your kids eat at the bar while sitting on bar stools. If the day is nice (and let’s face it – this is a tropical island so the chances of “nice” are good), you can eat outside on your own private and protected patio (called a lanai). Or, if you are sick of staying indoors, you can go out to eat at one of the many local restaurants! After all, Hale Ylang Ylang is only a short walk into town.
So what about amenities? Will there be enough to do? The answer is a definite yes. You see, Hale Ylang Ylang is right near the water. Have you heard of the famous Hanalei Bay? Well, it’s just a short stroll from the house. In fact, you can see the Bay from the upstairs windows! And, if you spend the day at the beach and become covered in sand, you can rinse off in the handy outdoor shower.
This vacation rental has cable TV, DVD and CD players, high speed internet, a gourmet kitchen, a dishwasher, a washer/dryer unit, a window seat, a private patio, a hardwood floor, granite countertops, comfortable furniture, and more. In fact, I think I can safely say that it has everything you will need for a comfortable and relaxing vacation here on Kauai.
Okay, my last post was about a luxurious rental home for those visiting Kauai. But that got me thinking about the last time I, as a resident, treated myself to a bit of luxury. And, other than some fantastic dates with my finance this last year, I haven’t really given luxury a lot of thought until walking into Anahola Aloha Beach House last week. That has got to change!
Now, why must this change? Well, first of all, I deserve a bit of luxury. I think we all do. I work hard, play hard, deal with struggles, volunteer in my community, raise awareness and money for local charities and good causes, and try to be a busy bee each and every day. And I think that deserves some pampering, don’t you?
And you deserve some pampering as well, right? I mean, think of all the things you do in a day. Maybe you’re a mom and you spend the day cleaning up messes, chasing a toddler, or helping with homework. (Moms don’t get time off. They run a 24/7 business and they get worn out!) Or maybe you’re a businessman who spends time looking over facts, figures, paperwork, and meeting schedules. You work hard to guarantee your business (or the business you work for) runs smoothly and makes money. That takes effort and causes stress! OR maybe you are retired, but you worked for 30+ years supporting your family, making wise choices, and not taking time for yourself. Don’t you deserve to make the most of your life right now?
Yes. Yes you do.
And when I think about it, if you are coming to Kauai and you want to stay in a luxury home, then you will probably want to experience a bit of luxury while you’re out and about as well. So I recommend taking a spa day.
The Hanalei Day Spa is located at the Hanalei Colony Resort, which is super easy to find if you are staying on the North Shore. The spa is located along the beachfront and is surrounded by lush vegetation and white sandy beaches. And there are myriad spa services to choose from, giving each individual exactly what they need to relax and rejuvenate.
So what are those services? Well, you can have a body massage, relieving your muscles of pent up stress and turning your back into jelly. Or you can improve your skin by getting a body scrub to open up your pores and cleanse away toxins. You can increase your flexibility and stretch away the exhaustion and strain of the day with a private yoga class. Or you can simply relax and snooze away the day in a body wrap.
Of course, there are many more services offered by the Hanalei Day Spa, and the things I mentioned are just the starting mark. But I think I’ve made my point. Don’t you deserve some pampering? I know I do.
Have you ever been watching a movie and you recognize the landscape from something or somewhere else? For instance, I was once watching a sci-fi movie and saw these redwoods that I recognized from a trip I took to California. It was neat. For some reason, finding an identifiable landmark was really fun for me and it made the movie that much better.
Well, around here, that happens quite a bit. The Kauai landscape has been pictured in several films and television shows over the years, from famous scenes to little known moments. Want to know which movies I’m talking about? Well, let me tell you! (No, I won’t be listing them all. There isn’t enough room for 70+ movie references. But I’ll do my best.)
Jurassic Park is probably the most famous movie to be filmed on Kauai. I can’t even tell you about the number of people who go on the helicopter tour and come back saying, “Wasn’t that whole mountainside used in Jurassic Park?!?” Yes. Yes it was. Waimea Canyon was used in the first Jurassic Park film back in 1993. It gave instant fame to an already famous landmark here on the island.
Now, how about a musical or two? Have you ever seen South Pacific? Because that movie was filmed mostly on Kauai. In fact, being from the Northern region of Kauai, I can tell you that a majority of South Pacific was filmed right here in Hanalei! (Talk about living in a well-known town.) And, if we can consider Elvis Presley films to be musicals, you might also be interested to know that the film “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” was filmed here as well.
Need a list of more recent films? Well, did you see Soul Surfer? I loved that movie, and it was filmed here on Kauai as well. (I told you that we had beautiful sandy beaches that are just perfect for surfing!) And “The Descendants” was filmed here as well, back in November 2011. (I would have paid big money to have met George Clooney that year.) And even parts of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” was filmed here! (Jonny Depp… *sigh*)
Of course, there were many more films shot here along our lovely shores, from “Six Days, Seven Nights” to “King Kong.” But the point is that Kauai has been featured several times in film. Why? Because it’s pristine, gorgeous, exciting, tropical, and fantastic. And the best part: You can visit whenever you want!
So why not come and visit. You can tour the island, see the famous landmarks, and even enjoy the ambiance. And while you’re here, you can sample the great food, beaches, and water sports. Throw in a tanning session on the beach and you have a dream vacation.